By Matt Slick
No. We did not. 1 Cor. 15:46-47 says, "However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second is man is from heaven"1 The context is dealing with the resurrection of the body. Beginning with verse 35, Paul asks the question "How then are the dead raised?" Then Paul goes on to explain the resurrection of the believer and how the natural body must die before the spiritual one is raised. Paul is simply describing the proper order of existence. First, comes the natural body, then comes the spiritual or the resurrected body. If we lived in a previous existence, then Paul could have said something like, "First comes our spiritual body, then our natural body, then our resurrected body." 1 Cor. 15:46-47 alone should be sufficient to put the argument to rest.
However, some say that 1 Cor. 15 is dealing with resurrection only and does not preclude a pre-existence. Again, looking at 1 Cor. 15:46-47 we get the answer. Paul does not mention bodies specifically. He mentions the nature of man in the proper order: natural then spiritual. Paul continues on in verses 48-49 to say, As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Notice that Paul says that we are first born from the earth and second from heaven. Then in verse 49, ¶Paul says the heavenly, spiritual image of man is future, not past. The proper order of existence is the earthy first, the heavenly second. Therefore, it is clear that we have no pre-existence.
One verse that is commonly used is Jer. 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you..." But this verse is not talking about pre-existence. It is talking about God’s ordination and appointment of Jeremiah to be a prophet to his nation. Let’s look at the whole verse: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
The Mormons say we preexisted with God, that God and his goddess wife produced offspring who inhabit human bodies at birth. This is a purely Mormon invention and is not found in the Bible. So, they will need to find whatever they can in the Bible to support their false doctrine.
One more point worth looking at is how God uses the word "know." For example, the Bible says that God only knows believers, not unbelievers. "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27); and "...The Lord knows those who are his," (2 Tim. 2:19); and, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23And I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." (Matt. 7:21-23). Of course, God knows who everyone is, He is omniscient. But God is showing us that when He says He knows us, He is referring to a salvation relationship.
Therefore, we did not preexist. We are born here in this world and will enter the next.
- 1. All Bible quotes are from the NASB).